Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: 5 Breakout Seasons From 2021

Sep 29, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Roansy Contreras (59) delivers a pitch in his major league debut against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 29, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Roansy Contreras (59) delivers a pitch in his major league debut against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 20: A New Era pillbox Pittsburgh Pirates baseball hat is seen in the dugout during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park on July 20, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

No. 4 – right-handed pitcher Adrian Florencio

One of the more underrated performances of the year came from Adrian Florencio. The 23-year-old right-hander was an international signee in 2018. His first few innings in 2019 didn’t go so well. He gave up 25 earned runs and 7 home runs in less than 50 innings pitched. But after 2021, he should be considered a potential starting rotation option within the next year or so.

Florencio pitched to the tune of an outstanding 2.46 ERA, 3.25 FIP, and 1.05 WHIP through 95 innings pitched. The right-hander was striking out batters at a rate of nearly 30% (29.7%). Plus he had a great 7.6% walk rate. Florencio excelled at limiting home runs. He had a .47 HR/9. Though you wouldn’t have guessed that based on his batted ball numbers.

Florencio gave up line drives at a 25.8% rate and had a sub-40% ground ball rate. He did have an outstanding 31.6% infield fly ball rate, but you’d like to see some better batted ball numbers out of him. Still, he had a solid 3.72 xFIP, which is based on flyball rate.

The right-hander spent the entire season with Low-A Bradenton. His outstanding performance won him his league’s pitcher of the year award. Next year will be his age-23 season. While I wouldn’t rule out him starting the 2022 campaign at Double-A Altoona, I could see him starting at High-A Greensboro. Though he may get a quick promotion like Omar Cruz did given their similar profile (age, prospect status, etc.).

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